Wendy B. Surr has 25 years experience in the fields of early childhood and after school care, with a diverse background both in creating and shaping after school policy and action for communities and in evaluating the quality and effectiveness of after school programs and staff development initiatives.
For the past 10 years, Surr has directed or consulted numerous projects for a variety of organizations. As NIOST Evaluation Consultant to the Massachusetts Department of Education, she co-created an outcome-based evaluation system for MA DOE 21st CCLC grantees, including the development of the SAYO-youth outcome and APT program quality assessment tools currently in use by programs across the state.
Other research and evaluation projects include Evaluator for the City of Cambridge Leading for Quality Initiative, a multi-faceted quality improvement initiative involving over 40 Cambridge after school programs; Consultant to Taking the Lead, a national initiative designed to build the capacity and diversity of leadership in the field of early care and education; Co-Evaluator for Achieve Boston, a multi-year effort to pilot a training system and establish a Blue Print for a comprehensive, professional development system to serve school-age and youth workers in the City of Boston; Co-Evaluator for Boston 4Quality, a multi-year quality improvement initiative involving the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, the Y.M.C.A. of Boston, Parents United for Child Care and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time; and Evaluation Consultant for San Jose 4Quality, a multi-site, multi-year quality improvement initiative in San Jose, CA. During this time Surr also consulted to the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Massachusetts School-Age Coalition, Plowshares Education Development Corporation, Early Childhood Associates, The Institute for Leadership and Career Initiatives at Wheelock College, and Work/Family Directions (WFD).
Other positions held by Surr include eight years as Executive Director of the Newton Child Care Commission & Fund, one of the first city-wide child care and after school initiatives in the country; Research Coordinator for a NIMH funded research project at Tufts University examining the effects of divorce on children; and Early Childhood Specialist for 20 school districts as part of the Massachusetts Department of Education Chapter 188 Initiative.
Surr holds a B.A. in Psychology from Bard College and an M.A. in Early Childhood Development from Tufts University.
Video: Wendy Surr and Ellen Gannett, M.Ed., explore the current issues surrounding expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) in this WCW video series. Surr and Gannett emphasize that afterschool programs and extended learning days should not focus on just more time in the day, but how that time is used and how well that time is used. Expanded learning opportunities offer a different kind of learning that can take advantage of different settings in the community and integrates both cognitive and social development in children. Click here to watch the videos.
Jim Vetter was Program Director of the Open Circle Program, based at the Wellesley Centers for Women until 2008. Since 1987, Open Circle has provided social competency curricula and training programs that have touched the lives over 300,000 students in public, private, parochial, urban, suburban, and rural schools in New England and New Jersey. Open Circle is recognized nationally as a science-based program with evidence of effectiveness.
Before joining Open Circle, Jim worked as a conflict resolution and violence prevention specialist, supporting schools and school systems in selecting, implementing, and sustaining science-based social development programs. He also served as Director of the statewide Suicide and Youth Violence Prevention Program of the Virginia Department of Health.
A 1981 graduate of Yale University, Vetter received a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is co-author of a recent article on the links between violence and suicide that appeared in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior.
Earlier in his career, Jim directed educational theater troupes and worked as a professional actor, mime, and magician.
Dr. Nancy Genero is an associate professor of psychology at Wellesley College where she teaches cultural psychology, culture & social identity, and introductory statistics. For the past fifteen years, she has explored psychological issues that pertain to the lives of diverse groups of women, girls, and their families.
Dr. Genero completed her doctoral training in social psychology at the University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor in 1985. After working in the clinical studies unit of the department of psychiatry at UM for three years as a research investigator, she assumed a position at the Stone Center for Developmental Services and Studies, now a part of the Wellesley Centers for Women, as a research program director in 1988. That year marked the beginning of her research career on the relational aspects of the psychological development of women and girls. When she started her work in this area, the research literature was extremely limited and reliable research instruments on relational processes were virtually non-existent. Consequently, she published the first validated measure of mutual psychological development (Genero, Miller, Surrey, & Baldwin, 1992). This measure is now widely used in the field and was recently published in the Handbook of Family Measurement Techniques (Perlmutter, Touliatos, & Holden, 2001). With federal funding from the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, she collaborated with colleagues at the Stone Center to study the relational aspects of depression in mothers of young children.
In 1993, Dr. Genero joined the faculty of the psychology department at Wellesley College where she began to incorporate theories from cultural psychology into her work. The idea that diverse cultural meanings profoundly impact the ways in which women and girls make sense of and adapt to psychological challenges made a lot of sense to her. At the same time, she discovered a growing literature on the negative effects of acculturation stress on identity development and mental health. Although studies called attention to the challenges of the acculturation process (e.g., discrimination and language barriers), few attempted to address how female adolescents make sense of their acculturation experiences and whether close relationships enhanced or diminished their ability to negotiate conflicting cultural demands. The discontinuities between traditional female roles and non-traditional mainstream American values can be a source of conflict between young girls and their families. Moreover, persistent cultural inconsistencies are likely to have serious negative developmental and mental health consequences for adolescents.
Dr. Genero received support for her work in this area from the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College and the Social Science Research Council. More recently, she received an award of a two-year small grant from the Brachman Hoffmann Fellowship Program at Wellesley College to conduct a community-based study of bicultural Hispanic and Brazilian seventh and eighth grade girls from the Framingham area. She conducted this study in collaboration with Elissa Koff, Ph.D.
In addition to her scholarly and professional research activities, Dr. Genero serves as the director of multicultural programs through the Office of the Dean of the College. In this capacity, she promotes faculty research on cultural topics and mentors students interested in conducting independent research in this area.
Research Associate, National Institute on Out-of-School Time